UA Trainer with Candice Gibson, Welder
Employer NS, Employers' Stories

UA Local 56

UA Local 56 Making Space for Women

For more than 125 years the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry – better known as UA – have been offering support and guidance to apprentices and journeypersons alike in Nova Scotia. Today they’re extending that foundation of support to non-traditional tradespeople – starting with women. 

Win-Win Situation

The Nova Scotia Office to Advance Women Apprentices opened in 2019 and quickly found an ally in UA Local 56. 

“UA Local 56 has been a valuable resource for the Office to Advance Women Apprentices,” Daphne Goodine, the office’s project coordinator says. “They continue to share their knowledge about trends and opportunities in the piping industry in Nova Scotia and are always willing to chat and connect with the office.”

Laying Pipe(lines)

UA are experts in the piping industry, attracting the best welders, HVAC service technicians, steamfitters/pipefitters, plumbers and so much more throughout Canada. UA Local 56, located in Woodside, Dartmouth, immediately stepped up and has helped employ three women apprentices in the first year of partnering with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices.  

Greg Pope, training coordinator at UA, says the union is actively trying to diversify its membership and the relationship between them and the office has been a valuable connection in meeting that goal. 

“Our partnership will lead to more females entering the pipe trades. The goal for our local is to see more women registered as apprentices, who continue on the pathway to certified journeypersons,” Greg says. “The office will play a key role in this effort by providing support that can enable new female members the best opportunity to succeed in their trade.”

On the Job Experience

One of the first women to avail of the partnership was Candice Gibson, a welder who’d recently moved home to Nova Scotia to be closer to family. 

“UA asked me to come into their training facility to demonstrate my skills. I did what I know I’m good at! I welded! The better I welded the more challenges UA put in front of me!,”  laughs Candice. “I never thought I would have the chance for unionized work as a welder and now I am beginning my second offshore hitch. I am proud to be welding on the second largest semi-submersible crane vessel in the world off the coast of Sable Island,” Candice says. “This is my dream job and I owe a lot to the staff at Office to Advance Women Apprentices and UA for helping me get here!”

Movin’ on Up

Daphne says the local has also partnered with the Native Council of NS to offer an introductory program to pipe trades as well as other inclusion initiatives, making space in the industry for other marginalized people. 

“Bravo to UA Local 56 and their staff for being open and available in supporting the work of the Office to Advance Women Apprentices in Nova Scotia,” says Daphne. 

If you’re interested in partnering to diversify the workforce in Nova Scotia, looking to hire, or access the many programs offered by the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, get in touch with Daphne Goodine at or sign up for our mailing list. 

[ Photo: UA Trainer with Candice Gibson, Welder ]

​Read More
Employer SK, Employers' Stories

Boilermakers Local 555

Allied Forces 

The Saskatchewan Office to Advance Women Apprentices opened its doors to women in trades in May 2019 and quickly had its first success story with the support of a true ally: the Boilermakers’ Local 555. The local helped one woman apprentice, and the office, meet this milestone quickly and has been involved in diversifying the workforce in Saskatchewan ever since. 

‘Beyond Impressed’

Shylah Nokusis, project coordinator at the office, says the office has been able to build great relationships in the community – from employers to training providers – and she found a real supporter of women in the Boilermakers Local 555.

“After assisting a newly registered tradeswoman learn about the unions, she decided on applying with Boilermakers. I reached out directly to their staff, and after talking about her struggle to find work, they asked her to apply,” Shylah says. 

That tradeswoman was welder Tracy Fedorowich, and within a week she was working in a mine in Saskatchewan. 

Joining the union has helped jumpstart Tracy’s career. She says the union sees the potential in her and the people there have encouraged her to succeed in her career. As a member, she’s been able to travel for work and make a good living she couldn’t in another field. 

“I couldn’t believe how quick they were to give an opportunity like that,” Shylah says. “I was beyond impressed and (Tracy) was incredibly grateful.”

A Natural Partnership

The Boilermakers’ Local 555 has a long history of advocating for the trades, having been chartered in 1954. Its members work in the construction and maintenance of nearly every heavy industry in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and northwestern Ontario. Members hold various qualifications from Red Seals in Boilermaking, Welding, Steel Fabrication, and more. All three offices of the union are equipped with welding booths and training facilities which are used by the members to upgrade their skills and learn about new advancements.

The organizations’ mandate speaks directly to the inclusion of women in trades, making it a natural partnership for the office. 

Kelly Houston, business representative for the Boilermakers Local 555 in Saskatchewan, says the local was impressed with Tracey and was grateful the office discovered her. Houston says this is just the beginning of a long relationship with the office. 

“The office has proven to us that it’s a reliable, secure, and convenient method for us to expand our membership with good capable people,” Houston says. “Shylah is excellent at keeping us updated on what is current … and we plan on utilizing both her and the office’s services in the future as a reliable avenue to diversify our Local with competent, quality personnel.”

Invested and Inviting

“Not only have they encouraged their own tradeswomen to register with us, they consistently recommended other women to register with our office, if they were looking to get into the trades. Their staff are always very involved in our networking events, attending when they can, making prize donations or encouraging their members to attend and support us,” Shylah says. “They have consistently given women the opportunity to learn about their union, the trades within their hall, and welcomed all interested tradeswomen to apply.”

Partnership Opportunities

Are you interested in getting to know or hiring the skilled tradeswomen supported by the Office to Advance Women Apprentices? Want to partner with us to drive diversity in the construction trades in Saskatchewan? Get in touch and let’s discuss how the Office to Advance Women Apprentices can help your company or organization succeed. 

​Read More
Forge Construction
Employer - MB, Employers' Stories

Forge Construction

Forge-ing Ahead

Sometimes the Office to Advance Women Apprentices brings the tradeswomen to the employers, sometimes the tradeswoman brings the employers to the office!

Forge Construction, a Winnipeg-based renovation and remodelling company and its sister company, Superb Sprinkler Services, are owned by Steve Kikukawa. The Forge side is fairly new and focuses on residential and smaller commercial projects and is growing quickly! In 2019, Steve hired Donna Mathieson as Forge’s Supervisor. A carpenter with more than 15 years experience, Donna came across the Office to Advance Women Apprentices and was curious what the organization could do to help her thrive in her career.

Onward and Upward

As Donna and Steve began to staff up Forge for the season, they reached out to the office to recruit carpenters. 

“It was helpful to be able to reach out to the office, let them know what we were looking for and receive resumes to consider,” says Donna..

Hands-On and Hands Up!

According to project co-ordinator Andrea Canada, the office is hands-on even after the referral. 

“We stay in communication with the employer as well as the tradeswoman in order to facilitate a smooth employment experience for both,” she says, explaining that retention support is critical for the success of the partnership and the tradeswomen.

Through site visits, telephone and in-person check-ins, the Office supports ongoing retention of tradeswomen. Working with companies like Forge, who recognize the strengths tradeswomen bring to the workplace, is what it’s all about. 

Steve says as a company owner committed to diversity and inclusion, he sees great value in the contributions that workers with different backgrounds, genders and ages bring to the workplace. “I want employees that bring their unique talents and perspectives to the job. I think it just makes us a stronger company,” he says. 

Forging your Way

If you are an employer looking for skilled tradeswomen from a variety of trades, Register with us today or contact us at (204)942-6069 or

​Read More
Employer NL, Employers' Stories

Monty Butt, Electrical Services Limited

Chance Meeting, Changed Culture

Electrical contractor Monty Butt became an ally of the Office to Advance Women Apprentices after a chance meeting at a networking event for tradeswomen several years ago. He was looking to hire an apprentice at the time and once he was introduced to the services of the Office he thought he’d like to try the services to find someone who fit the bill.

“This was a great decision and a great start to changing the work culture for our organization,” Monty says. “Through the past few years I have hired seven female apprentices, and have built a great working relationship with these tradeswomen.”

The Start of A Beautiful Friendship

Located in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, Monty Butt Electrical Services, provides electrical maintenance to commercial buildings, while also working in residential homes and with Honeywell controls.

The company has continued this relationship with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices ever since that fateful meeting. When Monty was looking to hire an additional Red Seal for a big project he was running, he contacted the office again.

“Within a two day turnaround I was interviewing tradeswomen for this position,” he says. “Even during strained times in our economy, we maintained this journeyperson and she is currently running a major project and overseeing the crew.”

The Future is Female

In addition to Monty’s successful relationship with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices, he regularly recommends other contractors reach out to meet with the team and hire from its talented pool of apprentices and Red Seals.

“I continue to rely on this organization for support and guidance on diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” he says. “I look forward to continuing our relationship and hiring more tradeswomen as our economy revitalizes.”

Are you interested in hiring? Are you a trades business in Newfoundland and Labrador? Get in touch with us and find out more about our database of skilled workers and whether you qualify for wage subsidies which can help you hire right away!

​Read More
Employer PEI, Employers' Stories


Manufacturing Safe Food

When it comes to your food, you want the safest, most hygienic equipment. Charlottetown Metal Products Limited (CMP) in PEI, a division of Food Process Solutions Corporation, has spent 60 years innovating and delivering food processing solutions to manufacturers throughout the world.
In order to process berries, seafood, meat, and vegetables CMP designs, creates, and builds effective machinery, and they do that with the help of skilled trades people. For CMP, that includes women in trades.

History of Success

CMP was founded in PEI in 1958 and, while it’s still headquartered in PEI, the company continues to grow to serve its Blue Chip clients around the world. Today, more than 100 people work from the 42,000 sq ft. plant in Milton, PEI and a 50,000 sq ft. expansion is currently underway. The company uses the most modern technology and software to design, build, and install custom food processing equipment, but it needs people to continue to innovate and build.

“We believe that investing in in-house manufacturing ensures our customers receive the highest quality and best technologies in their freezing and cooling equipment,” says James Gillelan, production manager at CMP. “We’re a global leader in manufacturing turn-key food freezing and cooling equipment, so when we hire, we need the best.

We have over 20 engineers on our team, 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and a dedicated installation team to provide unprecedented value, customer service, and hygienic solutions for our clients,” James says.

Opportunity Abounds

This year CMP will be hiring 20 welders due to production demand and are looking for apprentices who are interested in learning the business on the ground. The Office to Advance Women Apprentices is working in partnership to connect qualified tradeswomen for these employment opportunties.

Advancing Employers

Interested in accessing our pool of highly-qualified apprentices and journeypersons? Register your business with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices and discover the benefits of being part of a network that supports the future of trades.

To register your business select the applicable office in the footer section below. Once on that page select the EMPLOYER tab.

​Read More